“Design to surprise” is Damiano Latini’s mission, says art director Antonio Lanzillo
A delicate balance between aesthetic and technological research characterises Damiano Latini’s new approach, spearheaded by interdisciplinary designer Antonio Lanzillo.
Antonio Lanzillo is clear when it comes to his vision for Italian design brand, Damiano Latini: “My goal is to be at the forefront of international furniture design — an objective that involves working both internally and externally to encourage innovation and promote cultural change,” says Lanzillo.
The interdisciplinary designer is the newest art director at the helm of the brand, which has been making furnishing accessories and fully customizable modular systems for over 20 years. Now, Lanzillo wants to pay particular attention to the experts that make up its intimate 3-person team, helping to create a cohesive brand image as well as a united way of working.
“The quality of the projects we develop is linked to a precise business strategy that focuses our design thinking on creativity and building a solid and recognizable brand identity. This, I know, will better position us when it comes to facing international challenges.”
A core component of Lanzillo’s strategy is imbuing high-end design values to its products, which is why he is determined to continue the brand’s work with established international designers, launching projects that can be optimised and industrialised by the company’s in-house research and development team.
This synergy between creative ideas and technical skills has already led to several products being recognised for their innovation. In the last five years alone, the brand has received multiple international awards including the Red Dot 2022, IF Design Award and Good Design Award. Meanwhile, its recent Super Chair has won the German Design Award 2024, Archiproducts Design Award 2023 and the Contemporary Good Design Award 2023.
“We create products with a unique design and with the aim to excite — that is our intention: design to surprise.”
Antonio Lanzillo, who cites playing with Lego as a child as his inspiration to become a designer, has an affinity with the concept of surprise as a design strategy. “I feel that my journey to becoming a designer was partly by chance and partly because it was my destiny. When I wasn’t playing with Lego, I would spend time observing my grandfather who was a carpenter. Holidays with him showed me what true creativity was.”
Lanzillo went on to study at the Polytechnic of Milan, incorporating futuristic shapes, innovative materials and minimalist design in his final projects. These core components are still at the centre of Lanzillo’s practice, which includes his own design studio and international creative agency, Antonio Lanzillo & Partners.
“After graduating I set up the practice to create unique products as well as communication strategies across multiple sectors: from interior design to urban furniture, lighting, consumer electronics and watchmaking,” Lanzillo explains. “We’ve had the opportunity to work with important companies such as Repower, Cucine Lube, Technogym, Ghidini, Bassocontinuo, Conte Group, Slide, Tomasella, Eurostands, Fontana Arte and Elica.”
“We develop unique products as well as communication strategies across multiple sectors: from interior design to urban furniture, lighting, consumer electronics and watchmaking,” Antonio Lanzillo explains. “We’ve had the opportunity to work with important companies such as Repower, Cucine Lube, Technogym, Ghidini, Bassocontinuo, Conte Group, Slide, Tomasella, Eurostands, Fontana Arte and Elica.”
Lanzillo brings this wealth of experience to Damiano Latini, having also collaborated with designers like Marc Sadler and Rodolfo Dordoni in his early years as a designer. Today, his distinctive features include a precise search for formal originality and functional innovation, combined with a particular attention to aspects of sustainability.
Earlier this year, Lanzillo’s practice collaborated with Damiano Latini to create the Icon Table, an eclectic dining table that offers various configurations thanks to multiple combinations of materials, finishes and shapes.
“Inspired by the game Shanghai, we reinterpreted this idea of play to create a table multifaceted from multiple points of view,” Lanzillo explains. “This crossing table with three or four legs, in extruded aluminium, is characterised by the use of profiles with different sections: square, circular, rectangular and triangular dynamically crossed.”
“I draw inspiration on a daily basis thanks to an innate curiosity and continuous and hungry search for innovation and originality,” says Antonio Lanzillo. “It might be an interesting article, an exhibition, a film, or an icon inspires me with different weights and measures but each time the conception of a new project, be it a product, a communication or a strategy, is linked to a personal creative component.”
“Today when designing furniture/product design it is essential to think about several aspects simultaneously: quality of the idea, approach to sustainability and innovation,” he explains. “The latest trends that I think have value in the field of design are one linked to artificial intelligence both in the conception phase and in the creation phase of an industrial product and the other linked to the conscious use of recycled materials that do not limit performance compared to standard ones, becoming a valid sustainable alternative.”
A dedication to new production processes is the lynchpin of Antonio Lanzillo’s strategy for Damiano Latini, highlighted by the company’s recent release of the Super Chair (you can buy it online). “As a project it was love at first sight,” says Lanzillo. “To work with an especially young colleague who is a rising star of American design was a great opportunity, which lit a spark to invest like Damiano Latini in the development of this extremely technological and poetic industrial project.”
Distinguished by its organic silhouette, the Super Chair is a monocoque design made from 100% recycled plastic. It is designed by New Yorker Nicholas Baker, who obtained the sculptural shape by developing the concept directly in 3D, starting from a rectangular figure that he modelled with the aid of the VR viewer until finalising on perfectly sinuous and fluid lines.
The injection-moulded chair is made by SPM SPA, a Brescia-based company, that uses RE-LIFE® technology, a patented technopolymer that is 100% recyclable. The chair is then coated with a SILKY® finish for a soft to touch surface.
The aim here was to use an iconic and unique product that no one else has in its catalogue to position the brand at the forefront of international furniture design. The chair was exhibited in Singapore at FIND – Design Fair Asia, an immersive three-day furniture, design and interiors event showcasing the latest design trends.
After making its debut last April at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, Damiano Latini brought the Super Chair to Singapore. The presentation took place in the Italian Pavilion designed by the multidisciplinary studio Stefano Boeri Interiors, a space dedicated to the best of Made in Italy design.
“Without presumption, I personally think that the Super Chair is potentially a new icon in the international design panorama,” says Antonio Lanzillo. “But time and the market will confirm whether my intuition is correct.”
Regardless, it’s an opportune place to be for a designer like Lanzillo, whose ultimate goal is to create new and exciting projects within the design arena, an objective Damiano Latini is more than happy to facilitate.
“What attracted me to the brand was the possibility of having carte blanche, which at first glance may seem much easier than a brief and detailed request, but quite the opposite because you need to have very clear ideas shared with the owners to chart the corporate path.”
“At Damiano Latini nothing is left to chance and thanks to a multifaceted and talented team, designing a product, communication and business strategy is always rewarding.
“This is what a designer dreams of,” he says. “To have the confidence of the owners and be able to find innovative solutions together — that is very exciting. Nothing is impossible when there is trust, mutual respect and a shared passion.”